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 > Technical Articles: / BMW E36 3-Series (1992-1999) >
Concours Corner: Rubber Strip Reconditioning
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Concours Corner: Rubber Strip Reconditioning

Bev Frohm

Time:

2-3 hours

Tab:

$9-$40

Talent:

*

Tools:

Q-tips, lint free towels, sponges

Applicable Models:

 
BMW E30 3-Series (1984-93)
BMW E36 3-Series (1992-99)
BMW E46 3-Series (1999-06)

Parts Required:

Gummi Pflege Rubber Protection, Black Chrome, Pledge, charcoal gray or black fabric paint from crafts shop

Performance Gain:

Protect your rubber and plastic components and keep them looking and performing like new

Complementary Modification:

Wash and wax your car
101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series. The book contains 272 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to timing the camshafts. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any 3 Series owner's collection. The book was released in August 2006, and is available for ordering now. See The Official Book Website for more details.

Second in a Series...

Last time we talked about washing your car. This month I would like to discuss how to keep your rubber parts looking fresh.

Every car I have ever owned has needed a little TLC, from time to time, on the rubber stripping both inside and outside. You know the look; light gray, maybe some water spots or a powdery look etc.. The California sun and water can be treacherous for rubber. Washing the car again won’t remedy the problem. Recently, purchased a new car and already I have those wonderful little telltale signs on my rubber window stripping.

There are a few ways to get rid of these and I will tell you some pro’s and con’s. Now these are products I have tried and either kept or threw away. There may be some of you out there who have had luck with a certain brand or product, write us and let us know what you experience has been. It is all personal preference!

Vaseline – A BIG No-No! First of all this is a petroleum product and will do the opposite of what you are try to achieve. It dries out the rubber over time! On top of that it is slick looking and gets all over the place.

Armour All – This product’s has had some controversy for a while now. Some people swear by it and others tell tales of woe. Personally, I do not use it. On your rubber it will give a shinny slick look, unless you put it on and then wipe it off. It doesn’t last very long either, your first wash you’ll see a discoloration on the rubber. Some light gray spots etc., so you have to use the product again to get rid of them – hopefully.

Black Wax – I do not think this product is available any longer. I used to use this on the bumpers and tires. It was too difficult to use on rubber stripping, as you had to rub it off just like wax. It would just be my luck I would be rubbing off the wax on the stripping and take half the stripping off because I got into my work too much.

Black Chrome – This is my current product of choice. It gives the rubber a satin look and does not come off with the first washing. It is also a wax base, so it protects the rubber from the elements. I have also used it on the rubber bumpers (the hard rubber on the older 911’s) with some success, but I use another product on those now. I have also used it on the gray plastic you find in the older 911 & 912’s. It will bring life to the plastic without giving it that slick phony look.

Pledge – You can close your mouth now. Many of us in the Concours circle use Pledge, but not for rubber stripping. Remember those funky rubber bumpers I mentioned above? Well Pledge does a great job on those, as well as the seats (not leather) in the car.

Meguiars Rubber Conditioner – I have had some success with this product, but before a show I always go back to the tried and true Black Chrome.

Now the rubber stripping is not a large area, so apply the product of choice with a Q Tip. You do not have to rub it in hard, just apply the product and then go over it again with a rag or another Q Tip. A word of caution, do not use the Q Tips with the wooden sticks, just one slip and you could tear your rubber and you will be very unhappy if you do that.

A word of caution for you Targa owners, for the cloth covered side of the Targa there is another product that will do the trick. Do not use any of these on the cloth, it will not look good. Go to a Crafts shop and get a charcoal gray or black fabric paint. I know this sounds crazy, but another Concours person gave me this tip years ago and it works. Mix the fabric paint rather thin and dab it on with a sponge. As with anything, first do a test in a less visible area. The fabric paint work s great! Don’t get the metallic black fabric paint though, unless you need a little sparkle in your life.

How often do you apply the product of choice? This depends on how often your automobile is in the elements. The 911 lives in the garage and I apply the Black Chrome every third show or so. The new car lives outside, so I apply the BC once a month.

Bev Frohm is the owner of 'Bevees, a 1970 911T that has won many concours events in the Southern California regions of PCA. Her car was chosen by PCNA to represent the 1970 911T at Porsche's 50th Anniversary at Monterey. Bev is also the web site coordinator for the Orange Coast PCA Region.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Kurt in Kkkkk-Kanada Comments: I have used "Barriere" silicone skin cream on car rubber seals since I owned a 1960 Sunbeam, including on my 1972 Dodge Charger that I finally got rid of in 1997, and on my Mom's 1980 Pontiac Phoenix that was sold in 2013, and all of them had door and trunk rubber seals like new! The toothpaste sized tubes can be found in the baby's bottom section of drug stores.
January 24, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
BlueMW Comments: I own a convertible and the top starts to make little noises around the window seals. I use Gummi Pflege on all my seals routinely which stops the noise and conditions the seals. Also, IMO, it will help keep the window regulator mechanisms from failing by reducing window sticking to the seals and reducing friction. I've use this product on 2, 3 series BMW's and have never had a window regulator fail.
September 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
EB Comments: I have used wipe new on my trim 94 BMW 318is last longer and looks better than back to black! my fav until now
March 21, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the note. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Gixxer Comments: I use Silicone Grease, great for nourishing rubber back to life. Also great for hydraulic hood and/or trunk struts to nourish the seal and prolong the life of your struts. I have never used this on dash, leather, vinyl or wheels. There is other stuff for that. Worked for me many years now.
January 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jordan Comments: Who makes the Black Chrome product and where can it be purchased?
July 19, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and ask for Duplicolor Shadow Chrome. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MJ Comments: 303 Aerospace Protectant. Best product I have ever used.
April 12, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Peanut Comments: To preserve the rubber use Aerospace 303. Sometimes available at a hardware store but almost always available at a marine chandlery.

For refinishing hard rubber bumper inserts, trim and black plastic bumpers I rub them down with a dark red 3M pad, wipe down with Dupont Prepsol and then refinish with SEMS Bumper Coat in spray cans from a good autobody supply shop.
January 29, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
MHG9518ic Comments: I use Mothers Back to Black. It works very well, darkens and coats the trim, and lasts a long time. You have to be careful not to apply it to the adjoining painted surfaces as it will darken them too. I found Armor all overated and short lived.
January 14, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Kevin Comments: What do you use to clean/protect the dash, doors, and other parts of the interior not the leather? Thank you.
August 28, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Mother's back to black seems to be what people are using. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
sew and sew Comments: Thanks for the tip on using Black Chrome for plastic and rubber parts. I am currently in the process of buying a used BMW and was looking at maintenance tips. However, I needed a product for my Dodge pickup as the black plastic front bumper cap is dicoloring and I replaced that bumper less than a year ago. I have been using Armor All on it since I installed the bumper, and to my dismay, just this month it started to discolor.
January 15, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
voveski Comments: I used the Mothers Back to Black last night on my 99 M3, the weatherstrip was old and grayish but after two application, it is starting to look ok again. Can't wait to try Black Chrome as mentioned here.
May 22, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I've used this stuff before. The first time I was very skeptical, but the stuff works great, like magic! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Jose Comments: Mother's Back to Black!
May 11, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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